Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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Now when he talks like that, in answer to such appeals to faction, make this suggestion to him: “Demosthenes, if the men of Phyle, who brought back the people from exile, had been like you, never had the democracy been reestablished. But as it was, they saved the city out of great disasters, and gave utterance to those words which are the fairest product of enlightened minds, ‘Forgive and forget.’ But as for you, you tear open old sores, and you care more for the words of the moment than for the safety of the state.”

But when, perjurer that he is, he takes refuge in the confidence which you place in oaths, remind him of this, that when a man repeatedly perjures himself, and yet is continually demanding to be believed because of his oaths, one of two things ought to be true, either the gods ought to be new gods, or the hearers not the same.


But in answer to his tears and the straining of his voice when he asks you, “Whither shall I flee, fellow citizens? You have compassed me about, I have not whither to take wings,” suggest to him, “But the Athenian people, Demosthenes, whither shall they flee? What allies have been made ready to receive them? What resources are prepared? What bulwark have you thrown up before the people by your policies? For we all see what provision you have made for yourself. You have left the upper city and the Peiraeus, as it seems, is not so much your home, as an anchorage for you, off the city's coast. And you have provided as means for your cowardly flight, the King's gold and the fruits of your political bribery.”


But, after all, why these tears? Why all this noise? Why this straining of the voice? Is it not Ctesiphon who is the defendant? Is not the suit one in which the penalty is for the jury to determine? [Note] Is it not true that you are pleading neither for your person nor for your citizenship nor for your property? But what is this anxiety of his about? About crowns of gold and proclamations in the theater—against the laws.


Nay, but if the people gone mad, or forgetful of the existing situation, had actually wished to crown him at a time so unfitting, he ought to have come before the assembly and said, “Fellow citizens, I accept the crown, but I do not approve the time at which the proclamation is to be made. For events which have caused our city to shear her head in mourning are no fitting occasion for my head to receive a crown.” This I think a man would say whose life had been one of genuine virtue.


But the words which you, Demosthenes, will speak, are the natural expression of a worthless scoundrel, with whom virtue is a pretence. One thing at any rate is sure, by Heracles; no one of you will feel any anxiety lest Demosthenes, a man high-spirited and distinguished in war, will, if he fails to receive the meed of valor, go back home and make away with himself—he who so despises honor in your eyes that on this pestilential and accountable [Note] head of his upon which Ctesiphon, in defiance of all the laws, proposes that you set a crown, he has inflicted a thousand gashes, and he has made money out of his wounds by bringing suit [Note] for malicious assault. And on one occasion he got such a smashing blow that I imagine he still carries the visible marks of Meidias' knuckles. [Note] For it is not a head that the creature possesses, but an investment.


Now I wish to speak briefly about Ctesiphon, the author of the motion; and I will pass over the greater part of what might be said, for I should like to test your ability, even when no one cautions you, to discern those men who are utter rascals. I will speak only of what is common to the pair of them, and what I can honestly report to you concerning both. For the opinion that each of them has of the other is true, and the things that each, as he goes about the market-place, says of the other are no falsehoods.


For Ctesiphon says he is not afraid so far as he himself is concerned, since he hopes it will appear that he is but a plain citizen, but that what he does fear is Demosthenes' corruption in his conduct of affairs, and his instability and cowardice. And Demosthenes says that when he looks at his own case only, he is confident, but that he is exceedingly anxious in view of Ctesiphon's wickedness and licentiousness! Well, when men have thus condemned one another, you, the common judges of both, must surely not acquit them of the crimes they charge.


I wish also to caution you in a few words as to the slanders which they will utter against me. For I learn that Demosthenes will say that the city has been greatly benefited by him, but damaged by me and he will bring up against me Philip and Alexander, and the charges connected with them. And he is, as it seems, such a master-craftsman of words that he is not content to bring charges against whatever part I have taken in your political action, or whatever speeches I have delivered,

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.202 Aeschin. 3.211 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.220

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